Girl Zines at Work

Feminist Media Literacy Education with Underserved Girls

in Girlhood Studies
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In this article we report on the results of a semester-long critical media literacy initiative with underserved fourth- and fifth-grade girls. Building on the work in girls' studies, feminist pedagogies and critical media studies, this project was designed to privilege girls' voices, experiences, and agency by culminating in the girls' own media production of zines—hand-made, hand-distributed booklets based around the author's interests and experiences. By examining before and after focus group interviews conducted with participants and analyzing the content of their zines, we interrogate participants' general—but hardly linear—shift from positions of celebratory, uncritical media exposure, to self-affirming, transgressive media consumption and production. Ultimately, our findings both emphasize the need for feminist critical media literacy education, and articulate its pedagogical challenges.